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Don Rodriguez by Lord Dunsany

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sole Lord of Spain, including Shadow Valley, saving that certain
right should pertain to the foresters and should be theirs for
ever. And these rights are written on parchment and sealed with
the seal of Spain; and none may harm the forest without the
bowmen's leave.

Rodriguez was made Duke of Shadow Valley and a Magnifico of the
first degree; though little he went with other hidalgos to Court,
but lived with his family in Shadow Valley, travelling seldom
beyond the splendour of the forest farther than Lowlight.

Thus he saw the glory of autumn turning the woods to fairyland:
and when the stags were roaring and winter coming on he would take
a boar-spear down from the wall and go hunting through the forest,
whose twigs were black and slender and still against the bright
menace of winter. Spring found him viewing the fields that his men
had sown, along the forest's edge, and finding in the chaunt of
the myriad birds a stirring of memories, a beckoning towards past
days. In summer he would see his boys and girls at play, running
through shafts of sunlight that made leaves and grass like pale
emeralds. He gave his days to the forest and the four seasons.
Thus he dwelt amidst splendours such as History has never seen in
any visit of hers to the courts of men.

Of him and Serafina it has been written and sung that they lived
happily ever after; and though they are now so many centuries
dead, may they have in the memories of such of my readers as will
let them linger there, that afterglow of life that remembrance
gives, which is all that there is on earth for those that walked
it once and that walk the paths of their old haunts no more.

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